Digital identity among African cross-border trade issues UNDP seeks research on

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has published a call to tender for the selection of a firm to conduct a continent-wide study aimed at detecting the priorities of African businesses for cross-border trade on the continent, within the context of the Africa Free Trade Continental Area agreement (AfCFTA). The perspective of African businesses and other stakeholders on digital identity is among the areas the UNDP is requesting analysis in.

The study will highlight the priorities, opportunities, and challenges for digital trade in the One African Market.

According to the tender notice published by Reliefweb, the project will seek the views and opinions of African businesses and other stakeholders on a broad range of issues such as digitally driven cross-border trade in goods and services, cross-border data flows, digital taxation, digital trade facilitation, digital work, mobility of technology-driven businesses, consumer protection and digital identity.

The study, which seeks to get views of 2,000 respondents from focus countries and regional blocs has two key objectives, per the tender notice: develop a report on priorities of African businesses (traditional and digital) for the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol in English and French, and then develop an infographic highlighting perspectives and priorities of African businesses for the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol in English and French.

UNDP said it is sponsoring the project as part of its Africa Regional Programme for the period 2018-2021.

The tender mentions that the study is also part of the UN body’s work on digital trade, and it comes to complement an upcoming policy brief.

The role of the private sector and biometrics in legal identity systems was the focus of a roundtable organized by the UNDP in May.

What’s the AfCFTA?

This is an initiative that rallies all 55 African countries and is seen as one of the biggest free-trade areas in the world involving more than 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion.

The initiative is considered a major force for continental integration and expansion of intra-African trade which is currently estimated at 16 percent.

With the agreement, intra-African trade is expected to swell by up to $35 billion per year, facilitate the free movement of persons, goods and services. It also has the potential to reduce imports by about $10 billion annually, while boosting agricultural and industrial exports.

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